Having carried up all sorts of ‘extra’ equipment to cover all bands to be used on my SOTA and local hill-top activations, I looked at what I would need for a quick VHF ‘lite’ activation.
The main aspect to be looked at is the options open to you for erecting the antenna, I still prefer using the 6m fibreglass telescopic ‘fishing type’ pole which can also double as a walking aid on grassy terrain or you can use ‘local” tree branches or any wooden fence post, walking poles etc, a roll of electrical tape is a handy extra to carry for this or just use thefour tent-peg/Herbie clip method.See image at bottom of this post this time using a lightweight 2m 5 element yagi….
If you intend to activate a hill with a trig point, this helps greatly, I’ve used all these methods mentioned for 2m operation.
The photo (right) shows the basic equipment I use for local hill tops…
From left to right, top to bottom, the 6m fibreglass telescopic pole, sheets of paper )or you could use a notepad), a pencil, a 2m Jpole and coax (note the connections needed for to connect the handheld to the coax), electrical tape, a spare battery and finally a , 2M handheld transceiver, note the external speaker microphone, I find this much easier to use than the ‘press to talk’ button.
This of course could be used for any VHF band, I have equivalent antennas for 4m and 70cm frequencies. I could also take the FT 817 transceiver which would give me access to the SSB part of the 2m band, SSB tends to be worked on the horizontal polarisation but this would suffice.
Everything except the pole fits inside one’s pockets. A small bag or rucksack could also be utilised.
If I am out ‘chasing, ‘I will use my 5 element 2m Yagi beam (lightweight !!!) if I’m looking for ‘distant’ SOTA stations.
Much is being talked about using Li Po batteries for portable use, a 11v 4 ampere hr battery weighs only 260 gms ( app 9 ozs), this would allow longer activations using the Ft 817. It is one to look into.
The JPole is constructed from 300 ohm ribbon cable <HERE> and the coax used is a length of RG58. I tried many variations and found this design is the best, it is obviously designed for the US 2m band but I found it tuned okay.
Any other hints or tips which could help, please feel free to post a comment as your input would be most welcome…
or just stick the handheld in your pocket and use its ‘rubber duck’ antenna. ……simples.
For the record, it is a Puxing 888 2M FM handie which I use….cheap and cheerful. Available from <HERE> or your local EBay ( EBay is slightly cheaper at present), I would advise using the separate microphone as it is much easier in colder weather. UPDATE ( 26/07/13) : newer Chinese Handies are available and for the latest reviews see Hans’s blog HERE
Any queries, contact me through my QRZ.COM page <HERE>
I could use the same equipment for my 4m FM activations although I do both together whilst on a SOTA activation.
I intend doing some HF activations using my ‘rybakov type’ vertical antenna during the summer months but this will or will not be a ‘lite’ activation but who knows ?
Watch this space…..